I recently had the good fortune to attend the New Faculty Developers Institute in Atlanta where I attended a session on Supporting SoTL (the scholarship of teaching and learning). As many of us are now preparing for the start of a new academic year in September, this topic area is, if not top-of-mind, at least a component of the many thoughts swirling in our brains. With this mind, I thought I would share my synopsis of this session with you.
The presenter, Thomas Pusateri from Kennesaw State University, opened the session by citing excerpts from Hutchings and Shulman that endeavoured to make the distinction between good teaching and scholarly teaching, and ultimately, the scholarship of teaching and learning (from “The Scholarship of Teaching: New Elaborations, New Developments,” in Change, September/October 1999. Volume 31, Number 5. Pages 10-15.)
Hutchings and Shulman proposed that “all faculty have an obligation to teach well, to engage students, and to foster important forms of student learning” and they concede that “this is not easily done” and that “such teaching is a good fully sufficient unto itself”.
The authors go on to say that “when it (the practice of good teaching) entails, as well, certain practices of classroom assessment and evidence gathering, when it is informed not only by the latest ideas in the field but by current ideas about teaching the field, when it invites peer collaboration and review, then that teaching might rightly be called scholarly, or reflective, or informed”.
They suggest that the final step of “making one’s scholarly teaching public (“community property”), open to critique and evaluation, and in a form that others can build on” transforms the scholarly teaching into the scholarship of teaching and proceed to define it as follows:
“Scholarship of teaching will entail a public account of some or all of the full act of teaching—vision, design, enactment, outcomes, and analysis-in a manner susceptible to critical review by the teacher’s professional peers and amenable to productive employment in future work by members of that same community.”
If we choose to take up the torch, how can we navigate the path from good teaching (in and of itself a laudable goal) to scholarly teaching and then, to the scholarship of teaching and learning? Below I have gathered just a few of the many resources available to help guide your way:
On-campus: University of Waterloo Resources
- Centre for Teaching Excellence Library located in EV1 325
- Opportunities and New Directions Conference (OND) held each year in the spring
- Learning Innovation and Teaching Enhancement (LITE) grants
- Faculty Teaching Fellows
External Conferences and Professional Organizations
- Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE)
- Educational Developers Caucus
- Professional and Organizational Development Network
- International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
- The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
- Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
- International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning
- International Journal for Academic Development